I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Junko Yagami -- Cashmere no Hohoemi (カシミヤのほほえみ)

This is another song that I got from my recently purchased "Light Mellow Breeze" album of  J-AOR/City Pop tunes. A few nights ago, I wrote about Fumiya Sashida's (指田郁也)"Parallel" which was the first track on the CD, and now here is another track by Junko Yagami,(八神純子)"Cashmere no Hohoemi" (Cashmere Smile).

Originally from Yagami's 8th album, "Communication" which was released in February 1985, "Cashmere no Hohoemi" was composed and written by the singer. I read in the liner notes for this particular song in "Light Mellow Breeze" that "Communication" was the first album to present Yagami going in a new musical direction, and that there was some controversy about the decision among the fans. Listening to some of the other tracks on the album, it was obvious that she was going for more of the then-contemporary US R&B/dance sound and leaving behind the Latin-tinged kayo that she had become first famous for in the 1970s.

I'm listening to "Communication" in hindsight of many many years, so I don't have any feelings of polarization at all. As the author of the liner notes mentioned, Yagami needed to make a change after over a decade, and I completely agree. Certainly, singers like Taeko Ohnuki (大貫妙子)and Miharu Koshi(コシミハル) didn't suffer after making their own tangents in their careers. And with "Cashmere no Hohoemi", although there wasn't as much in the way of her soaring vocals as she had injected into her past hits, her delivery was able to fit into the quick urban contemporary melody just fine. Moreover, I've continued to listen to her albums since "Communication", and as I have profiled in previous Yagami articles on songs from those albums, I don't think either she or her fans have suffered too much at all. As for the album itself, it peaked at No. 9 on Oricon but it would be the last time up to now that she would break into the Top 10.

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